Text versus talk

I fear this anecdote I’m about to tell you may be all too familiar. On a fairly regular basis, my wife and I are asked by one of our daughters, or their husbands, to drive a grandchild to school, to buy a jug of milk on the way home, or to borrow a tool or something. Most of these requests come to us on our phones, but they’re usually preceded by that characteristic “ping” in our pockets, signalling a text.

“Can you pick up the kids?” the request reads in a bubble on the screen.

Whether my answer is “Yes” or “No,” I generally grab the phone – often my land-line – and call to find out if everything is all right, if there’s an emergency or not. For me it’s instinctive. My reaction is and has always been that I can gather more information by listening to a voice face-to-face, than if I wait for the bubble with the three dots (illuminating in sequence like a Mustang car turn signal) to give me an answer.

A verdict falls short

My Corolla sitting in a wrecking yard the afternoon of Dec. 30 last year. Almost a year after being t-boned in a Whitby intersection my case came to an Ontario courtroom.
My Corolla sitting in a wrecking yard the afternoon of Dec. 30, 2009. Almost a year after being t-boned in a Whitby intersection, my case came to an Ontario courtroom on Dec. 17, 2010.

It happened one day last summer. I think I had just finished mowing the lawn, when a police cruiser motored up the driveway. A couple of Durham Regional Police officers stepped out. My wife and I exchanged a surprised glance.

“Are you Ted Barris?” one of the officers asked.

“Yes…” I answered a little nervously.

“I have a summons here for you,” he continued, “in connection with an automobile collision last year.”